You’re filled with first date jitters and wonders of whether he’s “the one,” as you sit down to dinner across from your potential soulmate. You immediately begin sizing him up, analyzing his clothes, teeth, and the way he styles his hair, as you secretly plan to segway into your mental checklist. Yes, that laundry list of requirements and features of your ideal mate, from must love dogs to an appreciation for strong family values. But before you can nonchalantly ask about his religious background, political views, and career aspirations, he blurts out, “What’s your credit score?”
Suddenly this no longer feels like a date, but rather a job interview or an application for renting an apartment. Since when did the number on your credit report become a first date deal breaker?
According to the New York Times, because your credit score indicates the extent of your financial responsibility, some dates feel as though they can tell a lot about a potential love interest from their credit report, while others fear of a future together limited by the implications of poor credit. Some daters even stress so much importance on this score that they turn to online dating sites such as Creditscoredating.com and Datemycreditscore.com in search of like-minded money conscious life partners.
With that being said, for those struggling with bad credit scores, all hope for finding love is not lost. There are financial options available for a bright future for your and your mate. The following are four ways in which you can cope with bad credit and potentially have the opportunity to take out loans, rent a home, and buy a car.
Plan to Pay Your Bills on Time
If you can’t pay your bills, you can’t build your credit. One of the best ways to start improving your credit score is to prove to creditors that you are responsibly seeking good credit. To do so, begin by paying all of your bills on time each month.
Consider paying all of your bills online on the same day at the same time so you can fall into a routine. You could also set up alerts on your computer or phone to remind you of when each payment is due to further avoid late payments.
Consult Credit Advisers
When you’ve racked up debt and don’t see a way out, it may be time to contact a credit counselor. These financial advisers can provide you with answers to all of your money and credit questions, along with suggestions for a debt repayment plan. In some cases, creditors will waive or reduce interest rates and fees for those establishing a debt repayment plan. Following such a plan will make it easier for you to manage your debt while helping you repair your tainted credit score.
Apply for a Bad Credit Loan in an Emergency Situation
If you’re unexpectedly slammed with an urgent medical bill or Fido’s vet bill, you and your future spouse should find comfort in knowing that you do have loan options. Regardless of your credit score, you can apply for a same day bad credit loan that can help you cover a one-time unforeseen financial setback.
It is important to note that these loans do come with expensive fees and interest. If you don’t pay it back in short order, you could face an even bigger monetary issue. However, before you rush out and apply for a fast cash advance, read all of the terms of the loan agreement and understand the payment deadline. Also remember that you should only rely on an easy payday loan when one of life’s emergencies pops up. Don’t apply for this kind of loan to pay for non essential purchases like a new pair of stilettos for your hot date.
Consider a Secured Credit Card
Unfortunately, you can’t improve your credit report if you don’t continue to use credit. Even if you have poor credit history, it is possible to apply for a secured credit card. These cards are called secured because you’re required to pay a deposit, which acts as your credit limit. If you pay on time, you may eventually get bumped up to a regular unsecured card.
Before you apply though, you’ll want to request that the credit card company reports your history to the three credit bureaus, so that they will consider your transaction history on your next credit report. Also keep in mind that these cards charge high interest rates, so it is important that you only use this method of building credit if you can make the payments on time and that you can keep your balance in check.
Just because you’re left coping with a money mismanagement of the past, doesn’t mean you are doomed for the future. The next time a date pops the credit score question, use it as an opportunity to discuss financial situations and maybe even discover additional ways to further improve your credit report.
Chloe Mulliner is an editor and writer for creditsources.org, an authority site on credit related consumer services and options for people with bad credit.